Boiler expert questions federal agency's report on deadly explos -

Boiler expert questions federal agency's report on deadly explosion near Soulard

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A boiler-plate explosion in Soulard was captured on surveillance camera at a nearby BP gas station. Credit: BP A boiler-plate explosion in Soulard was captured on surveillance camera at a nearby BP gas station. Credit: BP
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

New questions are being raised about a federal agency's explanation of what caused a deadly explosion in Soulard in April. 

A boiler expert told News 4 the Chemical Safety Board's explanation of what happened is a "cop-out."

"I would have expected more from the Chemical Safety Board than what I see in this report," said Wayne Mueller. 

Mueller served more than 20 years on the Missouri Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Rules and he worked for decades with Ameren, in part doing analysis of boiler failures.

“We did this kind of work routinely, daily,” Mueller said.

News 4 showed him the Chemical Safety Board's report released last week on the April explosion at Loy-Lange Box Company.

After careful review, he says, he was taken aback.

“Coming from an organization that is supposed to do scientific analysis and failure work, I was frustrated that it's not complete,” said Mueller.

The CSB concluded that the water tank that shot into the air was quote: "uniquely vulnerable" to catastrophic failure because of severe corrosion inside it.

But Mueller says the investigators simply didn't seem to do a thorough job coming to that end.

“Just fundamental issues that, if you're looking at corrosion problems you should address, and they weren't addressed,” Mueller said.

He says industry experts want to answer all questions to make sure it never happens again.

"Here you had four people, innocent people lose their lives, I think it deserves a thorough investigation, not just say it was uniquely vulnerable, I think that's a cop-out," Mueller said. 

Late Thursday afternoon, News 4 heard back from the CSB after we asked them whether the report was a cop-out.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Chemical Safety Board wrote: “the report is a factual update providing facts and findings established by the investigation team to date. It is subject to revision as the investigation proceeds.”

They say their investigators have years of chemical safety experience.

We have reached out to Loy-Lange on several occasions, but they have declined to comment.

Mueller says he's never worked with the CSB or read their reports before, but wonders now about other investigations, too.

“It’s very concerning. What's the quality of all their reports,” he said.

The chemical safety board has made national headlines recently. In President Trump's proposed budget, they're on the chopping block to be cut completely. The CSB says they're advocating for their existence and their goal is to complete all their current investigations, they are de-funded.

The CSB is promising more reports on this case, we'll keep following every single development.

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